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Budapest Danube River Cruise

Exploring Budapest on a Danube river cruise

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Separating the former municipalities of Pest and Buda – which unified with Obuda in the 19 th century to become Budapest – the Danube is without doubt one of the top tourist sights in the Hungarian capital.

The banks of Budapest only reveal all their secrets only when seen from the river.

All on board: as an accomplished sailor, Captain Ulysses has listed the best Danube river cruises in Budapest!


Accommodation, flights, activities, citypass …
You’ll find all the Captain’s suggestions in the section
Captain Ulysses’ favourites at the very end of the article!

🤩 Top activities in Budapest 🤩

A few words about the Danube

Before embarking on a cruise on the Danube, a little geographical reminder is required!

Quick description of the Danube

2nd longest river in Europe after the Volga, the Danube winds over more than 3,000 kilometers, from the Black Forest to the Black Sea.

It runs through no less than ten countries (Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine) as well as four European capitals (Vienna, Bratislava , Budapest and Belgrade). Quite a journey!

The Danube and Budapest

Until the 19 th century, the Danube marked the limit between the municipalities of Pest and Buda. Getting from Pest to Buda was an uphill battle until the construction of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge in 1849! In 1873, Buda, Pest and Óbuda merged: Budapest was born. More than ever, the Danube became the beating heart of the capital and remains to this day one of Budapest’s top sights!

Budapest Danube River Cruise

👍 The Captain’s tip 👍
Captain Ulysses highly recommends this Budapest free tour.
You’re free to choose how much you want to tip the tour guide at the end of the tour!

Embark on a Danube river cruise in Budapest

You can’t explore the Hungarian capital without venturing out onto the enchanting waters of the Danube! The capital is never as beautiful as seen from the river: gorgeous buildings line up along its banks, which were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

During your Danube river cruise, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views over: the Hungarian Parliament, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle and even Marguerite Island.

Danube river cruises are particularly magical at sunset, when the banks of the river light up and sparkle in the night: quite simply breathtaking!

Budapest - Széchenyi Chain Bridge at night

The best Danube river cruises in Budapest

During your stay in Budapest, you will certainly notice that countless agencies offer cruises on the Danube, so much so that it can be a slightly confusing to say the least!

To help you see more clearly, Captain Ulysse has selected 6 Danube river cruises with excellent value for money. You’re sure to find one to your taste!

Danube river cruise for tight budgets

There’s no shortage of cruises on the Danube, but prices can be quite steep! But fear not: there are affordable options!

The Captain recommends one in particular, which, in addition to its low price, has three major perks: it takes place in the evening and you can enjoy the view on Budapest at sunset + a welcome cocktail is included + it can be canceled up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.

Find out more: 1-Hour Sightseeing Cruise with Welcome Drink

Romantic Danube river cruise

The cruise includes: an unlimited buffet dinner with local specialties, a welcome drink + a glass of beer/wine/juice, traditional Hungarian live music … in short, the setting is perfect for a romantic evening with your loved one (or a very good evening with friends !)

The cruise lasts between 1h30 and 2h. It can be canceled (full refund) up to 24 hours in advance.

Find out more: Dinner Cruise with Live Music

Party cruise on the Danube

It’s no secret that Budapest is famous for its nightlife, and Danube cruises are no exception!

Well, the Captain has found the perfect cruise to combine sightseeing and partying!

The cruise include: a welcome shot of vodka + music + drinking games + the admission in a club at the end of the cruise.

Find out more: party cruise on the Danube

Exclusive Danube cruise

If you’re not one to share and prefer sailing far from the crowd, the Captain recommends opting for a private cruise on the Danube.

Find out more (ascending price order) : 1-Hour Private Boat Cruise OR Luxury Danube Water Limousine Cruise

Danube river cruises for thrill-seekers

If you are not one to enjoy a quiet and comfortable cruise, you can always indulge yourself with a speedboat ride on the Danube! Enjoy the thrill of high-speed twists, turns, spins, and other maneuvers!

The tour lasts 25 minutes and can be canceled up to 24 hours in advance (full refund).

Find out more: Speedboat Ride on the Danube River in Budapest

Nautical activities on the Danube

Do you prefer action to contemplation? The Danube is an ideal playground to exercise a little and try out water sports! You’ll get away from the city, discover another side of Hungary and take a deep breath of fresh air in the middle of nature!

Find out more: stand up paddle on the Danube OR canoe on the Danube + bike


The Captain’s favourites in Budapest

🛏️ ACCOMMODATIONS
If you’re looking for an accommodation in Budapest, Captain Ulysses highly recommends Booking.com . You’ll find a wide choice of hotels, hostels and apartments in the Hungarian capital.
If your budget is tight, the Captain particularly recommends theAvenue Hostel .
If you’re looking for a midscale option, the Captain recommends three aparthotels in particular: Hedonist Lodge , Dolce Vita Rumbach and Tempo Life Apartman .
And if you want to treat yourself to a really nice hotel, why not splurge on a stay at Hotel Moments Budapest ?

🎟️ ACTIVITIES
As for booking visits and tourist activities, Captain Ulysses recommends three websites: GetYourGuide , Tiqets and Civitatis . Guided tours, cruises, skip-the-line tickets, tourist activities… there’s plenty to choose from!

🎫 CITYPASS
If you are staying in Budapest for several days, you might want to consider investing in the Budapest Card. It includes free public transport, free entrance to the Lukacs Spa, two guided tours, free entrance to 17 museums, as well as numerous discounts.

🚐 TRANSFERS
Budapest airport is located about twenty kilometers from the city. If you want to take a load off your mind, you can book a private transfer into Budapest’s city centre from the airport. A car will be waiting to take you to your accommodation in the city. Find out more: shared transfer or private transfer.

🚌 TRANSPORTS IN BUDAPEST
Budapest’s public transport system is well-developped and quite easy to navigate: metro, bus, tram and even ferry. If you wish, you can also opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour which stops at all the top tourist attractions in Budapest (audio guide included). Otherwise, there’s always the good old local ways of getting around the city: in a russian jeep or a Trabant.

✈️ FLIGHTS
Captain Ulysses highly recommends booking your flights on Skyscanner. The website allows you to compare countless flights to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.

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